Shimla, Aug 31: The 14th edition of Hero MTB Himalaya with 72 riders from more than 15 countries will flag off from the Himachal Pradesh capital next month, event organisers said on Friday.
The annual cross-country multi-stage mountain biking race will be organised by the Himalayan Adventure Sports and Tourism Promotion Association (HASTPA), Himachal Tourism and Hero Cycles from September 27 to October 6.
The eight-stage route of the race, touted to be the toughest in Asia, will begin from Shimla on 27th September and conclude in Dharamsala.
The race will traverse four districts, crossing two rivers — the Beas and Satluj.
The race will also be touching the boundaries of the Great Himalayan National Park, one of the biggest national parks in India and an UNESCO world heritage site located in the Kullu region.
The race route will also cover the famed Bir-Billing, known to be the worlds second highest point for para-gliding.
The race is considered to be one of the toughest among the cross country races around the world.
This years race will cover a total of 650 km, about 60-90 km every day.
Major towns near the race route will be Shimla, Gadagufar, Narkanda, Luri, Swad, Jalhori, Shatadhar, Gadagushaini, Jhanjeli, Mandi, Barot, Bir, Palampur and Dharamsala.
The race tracks will be tarmac, broken gravel, rocks, mud, and sand. The highest point of the race is Shatadhar Pass at a height of 3,100 metres.
This time, we will see an increased participation of professional riders from across the globe. Portugal, Germany, South Africa and Spain are expected to be front running countries in participation numbers, HASTPA President Mohit Sood told IANS.